language learning drudgery

November 29th, 2006

I'm having one of those "I can't believe no one thought of this before" moments. If you've learnt at least one foreign language, then you know how it goes. The beginning is exciting, because it's a new language and it's a very cool prospect of being able to understand a whole new world in a sense. At the same time, the enthusiasm is quenched by the drudgery of the process. After you've established the basics, you can pretty much go whichever way you want with it, but at the beginning you are introduced to a new language in the exact same way every time. If you've learnt more than one foreign language, you know exactly what I mean. "My name is", "I am from", "I live at", "How are you" etc etc. How bloody boring is that?

The students are snoozing, but imagine what the teacher must be thinking, doing this every year. What I don't get is why textbooks for language basics aren't a little more creative, I mean how hard could it be? Instead of those inane "my name is, how are you, where are you from" dialogs, why not substitute something more interesting? How about a story about a terrorist taking hostages in a bank? Or a bunch of people on a plane who find themselves back in time? Or a nefarious cracker with ambitions to take over the world who hacks into NORAD? Or a comedy about a bunch office workers who hate their job and stage a revolt against management? Any of those stories you could dumb down sufficiently and still get the same material out of them, the basic verbs, pronouns, all the fundamental grammar, cause that's found everywhere. But while doing so you'd have a compelling story to follow, instead of the usual bs.

I solve problems, that's just what I do.

:: random entries in this category ::

3 Responses to "language learning drudgery"

  1. erik says:

    I don't know about that one, doesn't seem sufficient to undermine boredom centre that is learning vocabulary...

  2. numerodix says:

    Why not? You could derive vocabulary from those stories too.

  3. Jack says:

    I actually enjoy the first steps in learning a new language but the suggestion you made actually enhances the vocabulary in a faster way. So, go on with it :D